Here and there…

Ok…I’ve tried the Briyanis at many outlets in Chennai. They don’t even reach the basic standard level. Either it tastes like tomato rice (red color) or pepper rice (black color) or curry leaves rice (green color) with a piece of chicken in it and to add to my anger, one boiled egg will be occupying most of the place in that small container.  And they always over-cook the chicken. It’s never tender. It hard and fibrous and difficult to eat.

Hyderabad had done this to me…my taste buds demand a higher level of taste in food, which I fail to get in this City so far.

So, Ramzan had us eating one lousy briyani which was made with red chilli powder and over-cooked chicken :(

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There was a debate. My point was that Rama can be a great King but he failed his wife Sita and that he is not a great example of husband material for men to idolize him.  Even after Sita went through the fire (I don’t agree on that too), he had to send her out of the Kingdom when she was pregnant. Absolutely not justified is my opinion.

But there are people, who can’t accept this because of the strong religious beliefs imparted to them since childhood. They are unable to break the teachings that made them to what they are now.  It’s quite sad to know the people still hold on to those beliefs and never raise themselves to question them.

And then this happened at my home :

Overheard this conversation in my dining area…

Chithi : What book are you reading now ??

Amma : Paavai Vilakku….you have already read it. Remember, its the story abt that guy who marries 3 or 4 times !!

Chithi : Oh yeah…I’ve read it. But the men in all the stories marry many times and everyone around is OK with it. Even when Arjuna married so many times, the women felt blessed to be married to Arjuna and nobody felt that anything is wrong about one man marrying so many women. I don’t agree with it.

Amma : I agree. Now I am reading Narayaneeyam. In that Krishna marries so many times. What kind of example have the Gods displayed to us ??

** I was chuckling away to glory at how my Amma and Chithi (Dad’s younger brother’s wife) questioned the staunch beliefs that they held since childhood ** Its time for a great change in our thinking…let it happen !!

* Narayaneeyam – Slokas told by Narayana Bhattar to relieve himself of some physical disease he suffered from. Reading this is supposed to be a good healer. This is part of the Bhagavata Purana.

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In another 10 days elder one is leaving to hostel. Where did the 3 months holidays go ?? Anyway, we have to get to packing, yet again :)

The younger one is a busy bee, what with her 12th class schedules, special classes and all.

And now, in another year, she’ll be in college too. Time is running too fast. I need to make more good times with the girls.

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I also want to go and watch movies in the theatre.

I want to go to the beach and get wet.

I want to eat fried fish and bajjis and corn on the coals by the beach.

So, whats happening at your side ??

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The Glory of Menstrual Blood

A few days back, I had put up a status update in FB like:

Two ladies actually mothers, were discussing about the color of their menstrual blood. And it was decided by them that the menstrual blood is BAD blood being shed from the body and that’s why it is black in color. And that’s why menstruating people are not allowed to do a host of things.

I was shocked. Bad blood huh ?? 

They didn’t even know from where the blood comes and how menstruation happens.

Sat with them and explained the whole process.
Am happy to have made a difference to two ladies !!

I’ve always felt that menstruation is one of the best things that happened to us, women, and there is always a greater reason that we have it in us.  The comments that I got for this status update proves it beyond anything, the goodness of the menstrual blood and how much of life saving mechanisms God has given to us through our menstrual blood.
[Please refer to the link to understand why menstrual blood is darker in color]

Given below are a few comments, without taking names:

Menstrual blood is indeed a medicine. In those old days, the menstrual cloth is used to cure hunch back and serious illness. Tamil poetess Avaiyaar had explained about it.

Even now menstrual blood is used for stem cells.

Tell such ladies that you shed stem cells and not any polluted blood.

I know many educated (supposedly) women who have no knowledge about menstruation. They follow customs and belief handed over to them by generations.

Actually a research analyst in Chennai has found out that the second day discharge can actually be used as a life saver …something akin to cord blood after just preliminary refinement.

It was stem cells from menstrual blood that cured Lisa Ray and her organization Life stem is about menstrual blood banking which is a fab idea.

In Bengal menstruating women are not treated cheaply and neither are daughters..its a progressively matriarchal society. When Sharda ma got her periods..She refused to cook for Goddess Kali…Ramakrishna Paramahamsa said..this is the very basis of jananaa…if you don’t cook both my Kali and I will go hungry..Bengalis believe that as a mother accepts her daughter menstruating or not….so will Ma Kali…am happy to have been raised in such a progressive society..!!! hope this explanation will make some difference …

Now, isn’t that wonderful ?? We, women, should be happy that we have such a life saving force in our menstrual blood, in the form of stem cells and instead of glorifying it, all we end up doing is discriminating our fellow women-folk during times of menstruation.

This situation needs to change. Women everywhere should understand the benefits of menstrual blood and spread this information to more women.

We should stop criticizing that its bad blood because of its color. We should stop giving a list of Don’t dos, during times of menstruation. It’s high time we grow up to understand the necessity of such a life-saving force which is also a life-giving one.

There should be proper ways to teach young girls about this wonderful God-given gift to us. Instead of putting a full-stop to Sex-Education in school, there should be training methods to teachers on how to go on with this kind of education at school level. We should insist on teaching the girls that this nothing to be ashamed of.

My sincere request to all mothers is, please make some extra time and explain all about menstruation to your young children (both boys and girls) and how much of good things lie within that menstrual blood. Let us glorify the menstrual blood and not feel ashamed of having it.

I am totally proud of the fact that I menstruate. Are you ??

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Thanks to all the friends who commented to my status in FB, giving me valuable information about menstrual blood.

 

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Kill that thought…

…that Culinary Arts is not a Professional Course.

There are this set of oldies, who refuse to get out of this thought process. Especially when my daughter had good scores in her 10th Science and her overall in 12th, it beats them why this girl has not gone into the conventional Engineering stream or any professional course ?? Its been a year since she joined college, but the questioning has not subsided.

They even had a stupid question for us like “Didn’t she get into any other college ? Is that why she joined Culinary Arts??”  And I was like Grrrr…absolutely angry…totally furious !! People, please stop being so stupid and grow up in thinking at least now.

In what way is a Culinary Arts course is considered less professional ?? I just can’t comprehend why its impossible for them to understand that being a Chef is one of the damn neat professional courses, you can ever see in today’s World.  The only course, where you study what you are going to do in the Kitchen. The practical sessions replicate the kitchens where they’ll work eventually and a lot is learned by practice, while the theory part is supplementary.  It’s an absolute delight to work in fully equipped kitchens and preparing the most delicate dishes, doing the plating and then finally to see the smile on the person who is happy to receive his plate. The gratification is instantaneous.  And it’s certainly not like those Engineering courses, where students study something and end up working in a BPO sending emails to customers.

I would also like to remind to those people that there is something called PASSION and what we approach with passion, we’ll be happy doing it for the rest of our lives. If my daughter is passionate about cooking / baking and would like to feed people, what’s so wrong about making it her profession ??

And next time, I would like all the concerned people to come and talk to me one on one and not feed the stupid questions to somebody else. I am ready to answer to your stupidity, if its required.

 

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My Serene Corner – WW

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A Thursday Challenge, yet again

Thursday challenge, but posted on Friday :D

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This week Thursday Challenge’s theme -“TRAIL” (Trail, paths, roads, sidewalks, streets,…) – deals with one of my favs – long drives and this is my fav pic of recent times. The avenue of trees on either side of the road mesmerizes me. I love to hang out in this shade, anytime !

Now, isn’t it beautiful ?? :D

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No words here – just eat :P

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Adai – the traditional way and my way with one delicious chutney and milagai podi !! Now, who wants to talk huh :P :P

Recipe @ https://umasfoodtales.wordpress.com/2014/06/18/adai-the-dal-dosa/

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Sita’s Curse – A review

sita's curse

After reading the reviews at many sites and many people’s wish to read this book, I was intrigued to try this one. Especially, it was the title, which made me curious. What could be Sita’s curse ?

This is what the book’s brief says:

Trapped for fifteen years in the stranglehold of a dead marriage and soulless household domesticity, the beautiful, full-bodied and passionate Meera Patel depends on her memories and flights of fancy to soothe the aches that wrack her body; to quieten an unquenchable need. Until one cataclysmic day in Mumbai, when she finally breaks free…
Bold, brazen and defiant, Sita’s Curse looks at the hypocrisy of Indian society and tells the compelling story of a middle-class Indian housewife’s urgent need for love, respect, acceptance – and sexual fulfilment.

Ok. I wanted to know how this Meera Patel breaks free from the hypocrisy that surrounds her. I wanted to know about the soulless life she leads, which makes her break out of it. And I also wanted to read about the dead marriage, which can literally kill a person.  But, as I came to know more about her life, the sensuous woman seeking liberation from her unhappy marriage disappears and all that remains in my memory is a woman who is able to understand her desires very well but certainly she has not understood herself properly. She is unclear of what she wants in life. Even when she leaves home one fine day, she doesn’t know what to do or what to expect of life or where is she going !!

But there are many other things other than these. Her relationship with her twin brother, her desire for her dance master, the ‘within the four walls-yet everyone knows‘ kind of relationship with that Godman, the steaming relationship with the dancer and of course, another one with the guy from a adult-site.

And then there are her sufferings – when her husband ignores her for one whole year after marriage – when she is not being taken to the in-laws house after marriage, while her younger co-sister Vrinda is being taken immediately – when her husband is kind-hearted to his brother’s wife while he screams at her – when her MIL thinks and talks as though its Meera’s fault that she is not conceiving – when her husband is unable to satisfy her sexually and because of that he treats her with indifference.

But all these sufferings do not justify those lust-filled pages. Her sorrows do not end by giving into such passionate desire with random men and no meaning.  Even with sexual affairs with different men, there is a meaning to it or there is some motive.  She doesn’t have any meaning or motive, yet high on sexual desires makes her portrayal as a weak woman. Yes, she attends some English speaking course, but did she really benefit out of it is the big question.  Instead of depicting her as the strong woman who comes out of her sufferings and holds a place for herself, she has been portrayed as a sex object and everyone views her like one. Even though love is what she yearns, all she gets doing is the lust part. Its sometimes so disgusting, that I had to skip them totally !

And all the men who show some consideration towards her in some form, either die or get arrested or mysteriously vanish – hmmm…its not a situation to look forward to when she finally liberates herself.

Her flights of fantasy are mostly sexual and nothing great about values.

Mostly, a disappointing book for me, except for the fact that one fine day, after 15 years of marriage, she gets out of the web of suffering. But, to where ??

The author, in her acknowledgements has written about the lady she saw standing at a window in the over-crowded Byculla lane and hence the story was born of what a middle-class wife in a crowded Bombay might be. For all Bombay stands for, Meera Patel should have worked at her values and success as a strong woman, instead of stupidly relying on her passionate ventures.

Finally, one more point, Sita’s curse – the title and the co-relation given makes no sense to me. Sita’s curse is her kidnapping by Ravana and here its Meera’s marriage.  While Sita came out of it with an Agnipareeksha, Meera’s freedom is less comparable.

This review is a part of the biggest Book Review Program for Indian Bloggers. Participate now to get free books!

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Share the language of love with Johnson’s Baby !

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When Johnson’s Baby wrote to me about “Share the Language of Love”, I was quite happy to take it forward. Thinking of Johnson’s Baby – the brand – always brings back happy baby-time memories of my girls. That smell was actually referred to as the “Baby smell”. Such was the association of their products and babies. Even recently, to promote their product, the newspapers carried the “Baby smell” on them and that day was quite a nostalgic one for me :)

Now, these Johnson’s Baby people are working towards a cause – that too a very good and noble one. And here I am, sharing the cause with you and asking you all to contribute and make this Campaign a successful one.

Share the Language of Love is an initiative by Johnson’s Baby to inspire mothers across various cities to contribute their child’s old or unused articles to an underprivileged child in need of them. The campaign is an extension of their core philosophy of ‘care’ and they have partnered with GOONJ, a reputed NGO that resonates this philosophy, to make the campaign a continued success.

Together, they organize various collection touch points in major cities in India to encourage mothers to contribute.

The idea behind the campaign (The Joy of Sharing)

The core idea is to develop a platform wherein less fortunate children can also ‘experience the joys of childhood’. The same platform also uplifts the spirit of all those who contribute as they feel they have played a small but significant part in helping these children feel the warmth and care they desire. This Campaign aims at collecting articles, which were bought by parents for their children out of love, to have a positive in the life of yet another less fortunate child and brighten up his or her childhood.

The act of bringing joy to another child’s life certainly has a heartwarming effect on mothers, who best understand the happiness of a child. By contributing, the mother will also become a role model for her child, instilling the value of sharing and compassion in him or her.

The partnership with GOONJ

The Johnson’s Baby team wanted to engage with a partner that shared the same commitment, passion and belief towards this campaign and they approached GOONJ without any hesitation. The team at GOONJ has been very co-operative and has helped them grow SLOL from year on year.

The partnership is strengthening pillar to pillar with Johnson’s Baby handling the front end allowing it easy for mothers to contribute and GOONJ ensuring the collected articles reach to the needful.

In fact various incidents has further strengthened their belief in this activity as a sharing a simple toy/book/clothes brings a huge difference in the life of the underprivileged child.

- Colorful aanganwadis bring children back

- Material like toys, games etc. are a big motivator for the little children in aanganwadis in villages. These are otherwise bland spaces with very little color or activity to involve or interest a child. As a result they would earlier come in for a little while, only long enough to pick their midday meal, even that they would prefer finally eating at home. As a result all the Government’s child health initiatives centered on the aanganwadis are not that effective.

When GOONJ turned some aaganwadis into colorful spaces with charts, toys, games books etc. the place become vibrant and kids who had never seen so many toys and games, were elated. They not only came in hordes, they stayed back to play and spend as much time as possible in this new happy environment. Their prolonged stay in the aanganwadi, helped facilitate proper health checkups for malnutrition and other diseases.

- In the words of an aanganwadi worker “Pehle baccha aaata nahi tha, ab baccha jata nahi hai.”

- A soothing touch to the disaster hit children.

- Toys, games, books etc. play an impactful role especially for the disaster hit children. Whether it’s Bihar, Uttarakhand or Muzzafarnagr camps. Children respond similarly to these symbols of innocence and fun. For the time that they spend with these things, they tend to forget, even if momentarily, the trauma of the natural or man made disaster they have gone through.

- A healing touch to sick children.

- In Madhya Pradesh, at a hospital, when stuffed toys were given to a child at the last stage of malnutrition, who otherwise had very little energy for any movement, the holding of a toy not only brought a glimmer of a smile but it also made him do some movements. As he clung to the toy, it made his last days more cheerful.

This year the collection center is being set up in 14 cities including Mumbai, Delhi, Bangalore, Kolkata, Hyderabad, Chennai, Ahmedabad, Cuttack, Pune, etc. over 3 successive weekends.

In order to contribute, various touch points are made available through which a mother can contribute to the campaign. To get more information about a nearest collection center, all one needs to do is give a missed call on 1800 267 6767/ 1800 267 2222 which will guide you to the nearest out of the 300 collection centers set up.

Also, please note that the collection centres in Chennai are spread across the city in areas such as Saligramam, Thyagaraja Road, Royapettah, Royapuram and Velachery. Select malls in these areas (Phoenix Market City, Express Avenue Mall, Spectrum Mall etc) will have a corner kept aside for the collection / contribution in their Big Bazaar section.

After all the items are left in the drop box for the day, they are collected from all the drop boxes in the city and transported to the nearest Goonj Collection Centers. Here the things are cleaned, sorted and pressed. These are transported to the local Goonj centers and given to the needful.

As a mother, I’ve always taught my girls to give away unused things or rather things they have outgrown. It brings a smile on the faces of those little kids when they receive a small kitty bag or a soft toy or pencils or notebooks or story books. When our children are taught to give, the impression in their minds is so strong and this value lesson of life carries on through their life. In turn, our children will pass on this wonderful lesson through the coming generations. And the world becomes a better place, with more smiling people.

So, come on, contribute and make a child smile. Also please take your child with you, while contributing, so that a great value lesson is taught effortlessly :)

SLOL Drop Box 1
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The ideal woman…

always wears a sari !! ***Now, I don’t like the sound of it***

There is this K. Balachander movie of the B&W era, in which this song comes.

The song is nice, the lyrics are good and L R Easwari has sung this song in a different husky voice, which was a new experimentation and it was a big hit.

But I’ve issues with this song’s visuals. In this song, the husband thinks that his wife wearing a nightie is the cool thing to do. And even if his wife felt uncomfortable wearing the nightie, for the precise reason of feeding her child with her breast milk, the husband takes no notice of this. He insists that she wears it, anyway.  Even though told lovingly, I didn’t like him imposing his wife to wear a dress, which she is not comfortable with.

While he wanted her to change from sari to nightie, there is an other side to this whole story.

The other day, there came a topic of discussion, when talking with some one, that wearing a sari is the ideal thing for women.  Now, who decided that it was the ideal thing ?? And why should someone else decide what is ideal for us, women ??

Are those women who trot this world in jeans-tees / salwars-kurtis / skirts-blouse not ideally dressed ??

Why can’t we decide what we want to wear ?? And why, dear God, should we be judged by the clothes we wear ???

I know, I don’t have to take these people seriously, but I just have to let out here !

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One visit to Jabong.com, which made my day !

I am a hopeless internet shopper. For me, everything needs to come under my microscopic visual scanner. Right from the texture of the material to the stitching and even to check if there is interlocking stitch in the end – am sort of mad that way. I need my worth of goods for the money I am paying.

True to my heart, I’ve bought only books from Flipkart, over the net. And of course, books are books – the visual scanner test is done successfully. But with clothes, accessories, shoes and the kind, it’s so difficult to override the visual scanner test of mine and go by digital images.  The numerous attractive offers from Jabong.com that fill the screen when I log in, made me go weak in the knees and I decided to try out online shopping.

So, I first checked out Jabong.com on what are the things they have to offer, that might tempt me. And starting from the main home page to all the sections, the collection was quite mind-boggling. The most attractive thing was the discounts, which will surely tempt any person to try online shopping at Jabong.

I went crazy with the thought of “What should I buy first?”. I am always wary of buying clothes – may be I am scared of getting the wrong size.  So, chose a safe alternative of accessories.

And being the mother of a bag crazy daughter, I started off with the bags section. And I was literally carried away by the wonderful collection of bags there. Those printed shopping bags caught my eye. Actually, I chose one beautiful blue polka-dotted bag and added it to my cart. But I wanted to see more, before I could finalize on buying this bag.

When I decided to go for it, that bag was gone. No stock. And I hit myself hard for losing out such a cute bag. Probably people are thronging Jabong.com to buy things, that they get sold so fast.

Things happen for a reason, I told myself. And again went into my search for bags. I was not disappointed. A beautiful green bag, a kind which I don’t have before, was the chosen one. It was too bright for me, but my daughter kept telling me that it will look great when I carry it.

When I added it to the shopping cart, I was informed that it’ll take 3-4 days for delivery of that bag. And I was fine with it. But it was delivered in 2 days, all the way from Delhi, with such neat packing.

3 cheers to Jabong.com, for making my experience with online shopping, a happy one and of course a satisfied one too.

What I loved about the whole experience:

  1. Detailed description of the product with length, width and height specifications. Made me feel better that I am not buying a small bag which looks big in the picture.
  2. Pictures of the bag that zoom in various angles, helped me to decide better on whether there is a zip, the length of the handle and if I’ll be comfortable wearing it on my shoulder.
  3. The availability of the same bag in different colors are being shown, which makes a person to go for the right color of choice.

And this is the bag, which I loved and got from Jabong. Ain’t it pretty ?? I loved the cute small pouch, which matches with the bag. For all you know, you might find me with this bag, in some pic :D

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Now, that I am a satisfied customer of Jabong, my next buy could also be clothes. I am fully confident of getting my size, at this awesome shopping site.  And also I am sure that clothes from this Jabong, are sure to pass the visual scanner test of mine :)

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